We Are Family


The mother of Jesus and his brothers came to him but were unable to join him because of the crowd. He was told; Your mother and your brothers are standing outside and they wish to see you. He said to them in reply; My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it. – Luke 8:19-21

When we first hear this message we might think that Jesus is acting a bit detached, even insensitive here. He seems to be putting his mother and his brothers down, as if they are not important to him. But we miss the point if we hear his words this way.

The most intimate relationship we have in life, if we are lucky, is our family. It is in the circle of the family that we find the support and the encouragement we need to take the risks that are necessary to grow up in this Vanity-Fair-world. Sure, it is true, some have had an experience of family that has been, sadly, toxic. But those who have not been lucky enough to be raised in a loving, supportive family, instinctively desire such a family none-the-less. The truth is that, creating such a family, is the hard work that adults must take on when they choose, with God’s grace, to establish a family. Jesus, certainly, knew this kind of familial, motherly and brotherly love, care and support, yet we hear him speaking these words. Why?

It is because Jesus is speaking of “family” writ large here. He is inviting all of us to enter into the warm, loving, supportive circle of his family life. If we but, “hear the word of God AND ACT ON IT,” we will be what our hearts desire the most, brothers and sisters of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Mary will be our mother, Jesus, and all who follow him, will be our brothers and sisters. We will begin to experience the love of God, the mercy and forgiveness of God. We will receive the encouragement to continue to live in his ways, to form ourselves and our children in that same, active, love and compassion for others. We will, in other words, learn to love as Jesus did. This is a desire and a goal worthy of the human soul! Let us, then, listen to the word of God every day. Let us pray and meditate on it daily. Let us choose to live and act in union with it throughout every moment of our days. If we do, God’s graces will flow abundantly into and through us in everything we do. Lord, help us to listen and to act every day, in all that we do, in accord with your word. Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.